On the heterogeneous trade and welfare effects of GATT/WTO membership

Gabriel Felbermayr, Mario Larch, Erdal Yalcin, Yoto V. Yotov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


We quantify the effects of GATT/WTO membership on trade and welfare. Using an extensive database covering manufacturing trade for 186 countries over the period 1980–2016, we find that the average partial equilibrium impact of GATT/WTO membership on trade among member countries is large, positive, and significant. We contribute to the literature by estimating country-specific estimates and find them to vary widely across the countries in our sample with poorer members benefitting more. Using these estimates, we simulate the general equilibrium effects of GATT/WTO on welfare, which are sizable and heterogeneous across members. We show that countries not experiencing positive trade effects from joining GATT/WTO can still gain in terms of welfare, due to lower import prices and higher export demand.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of World Economics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s) under exclusive licence to Kiel Institute for the World Economy.


  • GATT
  • Heterogeneous policy effects
  • Welfare
  • WTO

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